06.03.2021

Standard Chartered Launches Digital Asset Trading JV

  • BC Group CIO Usman Ahmad appointed CEO of the new entity; Nick Philpott of SC Ventures appointed COO
  • JV to be underpinned by OSL’s leading digital-asset technology, and Standard Chartered’s global network

SC Ventures, the innovation and ventures unit of Standard Chartered, and BC Technology Group (BC Group), Asia’s leading digital asset company and parent of Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC)-licensed digital-asset platform OSL, announced they have partnered to establish a digital asset brokerage and exchange platform for institutional and corporate clients in the UK and Europe.

BC Group Chief Information Officer Usman Ahmad will be CEO of the new company, and Nick Philpott of SC Ventures will be COO.

The joint venture will be underpinned by BC Group’s leading OSL digital-asset technology and Standard Chartered’s global network and experience in brokerage and providing access to European markets.

Based in the UK, and initially targeting the European market, the company will connect institutional traders to counterparties across markets, delivering access to deep pools of liquidity in Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital assets. The JV aims to launch in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.

Wayne Trench, CEO of BC Group’s OSL digital asset business, said: “We’re thrilled to enter into this partnership to make secure and compliant digital asset trading more accessible to institutional investors in Europe. Standard Chartered and SC Ventures are known globally as leaders in fintech innovation and banking, and the partnership fits with our geographical expansion and growth strategy as it allows OSL to rapidly enter the European market with a leading partner.”

Alex Manson of SC Ventures said: “We have a strong conviction that digital assets are here to stay and will be adopted by the institutional market as a highly relevant asset class. We are constructing the building blocks for a safe and reliable investment infrastructure: on the back of Zodia Custody, which will ensure safe and compliant custody for institutional investors, the new company will provide a brokerage and exchange platform to enable safe adoption and trading by the world’s largest and most demanding investors.”

Usman Ahmad, incoming CEO of the new JV, said: “With total market capitalisation of digital assets over USD1 trillion, collaboration between market-leading firms is imperative to the continued development of robust global institutional digital asset infrastructure. The JV will aid in maturing the digital asset ecosystem by combining OSL’s expertise in regulatory compliant, secure institutional digital asset trading with SC Ventures’ proven capability to develop future technology capabilities in banking and finance.”

Digital-asset trading has expanded significantly since 2017, with a total market capitalisation greater than USD1 trillion in early June 2021. The total value of trading volume on major digital-asset exchanges averages over USD4 billion per day. This growth has drawn the attention of institutional customers, many of whom are now looking to access the asset class for the first time.

 The JV further cements Standard Chartered and BC Group as leaders in the development of global digital-asset infrastructure. In December 2020, SC Ventures announced a strategic partnership with Northern Trust to launch Zodia Custody, an institutional-grade custody solution for digital assets. Zodia is designed to enable institutions to invest in digital assets that are transforming how financial markets operate, including transaction and settlement. In addition, Standard Chartered has invested in core blockchain technology provider Metaco and is collaborating with the Bank of Thailand and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to explore distributed ledger interoperability for cross-border fund transfers.

BC Group is the parent company of OSL, Asia’s leading digital asset platform, which in December 2020 was the first firm to receive a Type 1 (dealing in securities) and 7 (automated trading service), from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). It is now the world’s first SFC-licensed, listed, digital asset wallet-insured, Big-4 audited digital asset trading platform for institutions and professional investors.

OSL offers customers secure and compliant trading access to Bitcoin, Ethereum and other high-quality digital assets, along with select security token offerings (STOs). Its SFC-licensed subsidiary, OSL Digital Securities, made history in March when it executed Hong Kong’s first-ever licensed digital-asset trades.

Source: Standard Chartered

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